The Diocese of Burlington is focusing on discipleship in 2019, so Staff Reporter/Content Editor Cori Fugere Urban asked people how they have answered the call to be a disciple. Here are their responses.

Rebecca Hampl, Christ the King Parish, Rutland

“Jesus taught us about hope and mercy. As a disciple of His, I considered that sorrow can have an ending if we but trust in Him. I wrote a book to promote His word and gave it a title, ‘Sorrow Has An Ending,’ and it has been published.

Father Thomas Houle, OFM Cap., pastor, St. Peter Church, Rutland

“I believe I followed the call to discipleship since 1967 when I was invited to come and see what the Capuchin lifestyle was. It has been a very, very happy, fulfilling life, and I am glad that I answered the call in this way.”

Josh Dionne, St. Michael Parish, Brattleboro

“I think I have answered the call to discipleship by virtue of working and living my whole life in a strong Catholic environment. I have the opportunity every day as a teacher (at St. Michael School in Brattleboro) to lead others to be disciples, but I also feel like I’m a disciple myself because my students are teaching me new things about how to live my faith every day.”

Emma Gragen, grade 7, St. Michael School, Brattleboro

“I’m a disciple of Christ by coming to a Catholic school, attending Mass, being an altar server, loving others and respecting them and loving God.”

Sister of Mercy Marianne Read, Burlington

“My call to discipleship began at baptism. Over 55 years ago, I chose to deepen that commitment as a Sister of Mercy. Called by Jesus Christ and inspired by Catherine McAuley, our foundress, I and all Sisters of Mercy strive each day to be faithful in serving persons who suffer from poverty, sickness, lack of education [and] injustice with a special concern for women and children.”

Deacon Gesualdo Schneider, St. Augustine Parish, Montpelier

“Discipleship could be summed up in the two words, ‘Follow me.’ The words of Jesus to the Apostle Philip became the example for my own personal life. And following Jesus means you do not set the agenda and you do not determine the road upon which you travel. You truly let Jesus lead you and guide you.”

Agnes Milne, St. Andrew Parish, Waterbury

“My call to discipleship began with a traditional Catholic upbringing. And as an adult raising my own children, I wanted to make that faith strong in them. It began with taking a good, hard look at my life, getting myself back to confession and then pursuing the Lord through all the means the Church has to offer.”

Jim Whitney, St. Andrew Parish, Waterbury

“I think the easiest way to sum it up would be to recall a quote that I like to use for myself and I use it with others. It’s a quote from St. Francis that says, ‘Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary use words.’ So I think the key to discipleship is modeling Catholic Christian behavior and sharing that with others.”

—Originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.